EU must be joking?

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June 28, 2014 by Paul Goldsmith

I enjoyed this video – it tries to explain how the EU works for anyone who doesn’t understand the difference between the Euro, the EU, the EEA, the Schengen Area etc and what the EU can and can’t do and where it can and can’t get involved and the limits of sovereignty etc. But it does it in an irreverent and amusing way which is useful to watch even if you think you know a lot about how the EU operates.

It would be interesting to know whether people find this ‘biased’ though. Watch it and see what you think. Yes, the narrator is quite sardonic, but are they doing anything other than presenting facts? Have they selected those facts to make their own political case? Or is everything in here to make a good five minute introduction to the complexities of the EU. It certainly makes some positive points as well as some negative points, but given the state of the debate on the EU at the moment, is it possible to be balanced?

The truth is that there are many benefits and many costs for the UK’s membership in the EU. Our firms have access to a much larger unprotected market than before in order to expand their businesses and benefit from economies of scale and increased profits. However, their success can be affected by the amount of new competition that gains access to the UK’s market, having been protected previously by tariffs and quotas. Our workforce have freedom of movement across Europe, with the job opportunities that provides, but the rest of the EU’s workforce has freedom of movement too, and they can come here to work.

The positioning on the EU at the moment is pretty clear. Lib Dems are the party of IN, UKIP are the party of OUT, Conservatives are split so are settling for a referendum in 2017 and Labour….well Labour isn’t sure what it wants but is generally more IN than OUT – although they have to be careful as they want to present themselves as representing ‘hardworking Britain’.

They have to be careful because there are winners and losers with our membership of the EU. Some companies can’t compete and go bust. Some workers cannot get work any more at wages they are prepared to work at, as the available labour supply has increased, bringing down the market wage. We need to have some policies and answers in order to help those who lose out from EU membership. But first we have to acknowledge them.

This is the problem with the state of the debate at the moment. To acknowledge those who are losing out due to EU membership is being conflated with being ‘racist’  and ‘Little Englander’, which is why Nigel Farage’s UKIP came top in the EU election, because they are the ones directly addressing those people. The left-wing in this country is not addressing them as they have created their own world where it is dangerous to do so.

So can we just acknowledge that there are winners and losers and try and help the losers? By ignoring them or invalidating their complaints about their situation we are driving them out of mainstream politics and into the hands of UKIP..and no amount of bricks through the window of UKIP MEPs are going to stop that.

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